The thermal time hypothesis (TTH) is a proposed solution to the problem of time: a coarse-grained, statistical state determines a thermal dynamics according to which it is in equilibrium, and this dynamics is identified as the flow of physical time in generally covariant quantum theories. This paper raises a series of objections to the TTH as developed by Connes and Rovelli (1994). Two technical challenges concern the relationship between thermal time and proper time conjectured by the TTH and the implementation of the TTH in the classical limit. Three conceptual problems concern the flow of time in non-equilibrium states and the extent to which the TTH is background independent and gauge-invariant. While there are potentially viable strategies for addressing the two technical challenges, the three conceptual problems present a tougher hurdle for the defender of the TTH.
The concepts of mental disorder, or illness, are ascribed to
deviations from normal thoughts, reasoning, feelings, attitudes, and
actions that are by their subjects, or by others, considered socially
or personally dysfunctional and apt for treatment. Schizophrenia,
depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, and mania
are examples. The concept of mental disorder or illness plays a role
in many domains, including medicine, social sciences such as
psychology and anthropology, and the humanities, including literature
and philosophy. Philosophical discussions are the primary focus of the
present entry, which differs from the entry on Philosophy of
Psychiatry in noting several different approaches—not only those
of the philosophy of science and mind, but also those arising from
phenomenological and social theory traditions.
This paper discusses the relevance of supertask computation for the determinacy of arithmetic. Recent work in the philosophy of physics has made plausible the possibility of supertask computers, capable of running through infinitely many individual computations in a finite time. A natural thought is that, if true, this implies that arithmetical truth is determinate (at least for e.g. sentences saying that every number has a certain decidable property). In this paper we argue, via a careful analysis of putative arguments from supertask computations to determinacy, that this natural thought is mistaken: supertasks are of no help in explaining arithmetical determinacy.
Gao (2017) presents a new mentalistic reformulation of the well-known measurement problem affecting the standard formulation of quantum mechanics. According to this author, it is essentially a determinate-experience problem, namely a problem about the compatibility between the linearity of the Schrödinger’s equation, the fundamental law of quantum theory, and definite experiences perceived by conscious observers. In this essay I aim to clarify (i) that the well-known measurement problem is a mathematical consequence of quantum theory’s formalism, and that (ii) its mentalistic variant does not grasp the relevant causes which are responsible for this puzzling issue. The first part of this paper will be concluded claiming that the “physical” formulation of the measurement problem cannot be reduced to its mentalistic version. In the second part of this work it will be shown that, contrary to the case of quantum mechanics, Bohmian mechanics and GRW theories provide clear explanations of the physical processes responsible for the definite localization of macroscopic objects and, consequently, for well-defined perceptions of measurement outcomes by conscious observers. More precisely, the macro-objectification of states of experimental devices is obtained exclusively in virtue of their clear ontologies and dynamical laws without any intervention of human observers. Hence, it will be argued that in these theoretical frameworks the measurement problem and the determinate-experience problem are logically distinct issues.
. As part of the week of posts on R.A.Fisher (February 17, 1890 – July 29, 1962), I reblog a guest post by Stephen Senn from 2012, and 2017. See especially the comments from Feb 2017. ‘Fisher’s alternative to the alternative’
By: Stephen Senn
[2012 marked] the 50th anniversary of RA Fisher’s death. …
This paper is an attempt to articulate and defend a new imperative, Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo’s Il faut donner à voir: “They must be made to see.” Assuming the ‘they’ in Delbo’s imperative is ‘us’ gives rise to three questions: (1) what must we see? (2) can we see it? and (3) why is it that we must? I maintain that what we must see is the reality of evil; that we are by and large unwilling, and often unable, to see the reality of evil; and that if there is to be comprehension of—to say nothing of justice for—the survivors of evil, we nonetheless must.
For the last day of blogging my book The Emotional Mind, I’m going to skip straight to the last chapter on mental architecture. This is where propose a control theory of the mind as a whole. It is perhaps the most ambitious and speculative chapter of a book that is probably already too ambitious for its own good. …
The Buddha (fl. circa 450 BCE) is the individual whose teachings
form the basis of the Buddhist tradition. These teachings, preserved in
texts known as the Nikāyas or Āgamas,
concern the quest for liberation from suffering. While the ultimate aim
of the Buddha’s teachings is thus to help individuals attain the
good life, his analysis of the source of suffering centrally involves
claims concerning the nature of persons, as well as how we acquire
knowledge about the world and our place in it. These teachings formed
the basis of a philosophical tradition that developed and defended a
variety of sophisticated theories in metaphysics and epistemology.
The majority of translation theories remerging from the works of contemporary philosophers suffer from a lack of well-organized textual/semiotic analysis tools. Although such theories are specifically important because of their postulates, their incoherent methods normally make them difficult to be used or even sufficiently understood. Hermeneutic theories, however, have been re-visiting and re-constructing their principles, showing a remarkable tendency toward methodological and empirical investigation guided by their philosophy. Translational hermeneu-tics, as a major movement, has suggested six fundamental principles. Although this contribution systemizes and simplifies hermeneutic conceptions, it still needs to construct a lingual analytic system for practical translation. Seeking to address this problem, this study views the six principles in the light of narratology and suggests a unified organization based on Ricoeur’s narrative theory by breaking the principles into a cognitive-existential dimension (subjectivity, historicity, phenomenology) and a lingual/semiotic dimension (process character, holistic nature, reflection). This framework processes both minimal and maximal language variables and addresses practical and pedagogical considerations.
Today I will summarise the account of
pain and pleasure provided in The
Emotional Mind. This builds on the account of valent representation that I
outlined yesterday. However, the first thing to note that is although valent
representation is representation in a valent (i.e. …
While there is more to being honest than not lying, becoming the sort of person who does not lie unjustifiably is essential to becoming an honest person. This paper will provide an account of the underlying psychology of a certain kind of lie: namely, morally unjustified lies we tell due to a perceived benefit to ourselves. The proposal is that such lies naturally spring from a personal orientation to the world that centers on self-protection, self-preservation, and self-enhancement. This analysis suggests that a way to refrain from lying is to engage in a relationally-connected way of life that brings about an alternative orientation to the world in which one’s protection, preservation, and reputation are secure apart from lying. An aspect of this new orientation will be the emerging willingness to relinquish control over the perceived disadvantages of honesty. So, on this view, lying (and other forms of dishonesty) is largely unnecessary when the perceived disadvantages are no longer viewed as a threat to one’s secure standing in the world.
What are the demands of religious inquiry? More precisely, what qualities or capacities are required for getting to the truth about religious reality? One natural, if less than illuminating, answer is: the same qualities and capacities necessary for getting to the truth about other, nonreligious features of reality. Which are these? An initial list might include a favorable network of background beliefs, well-functioning cognitive faculties, natural cognitive ability, and the intellectual skills required for good thinking and reasoning. This list, while a reasonable start, is incomplete, even as an account of the demands of non-religious knowledge. For, a person can have the relevant beliefs, faculties, abilities, and skills but be unmotivated to use them, or be disposed to use them in the wrong way, at the wrong time, in the wrong amount, and so on. While intellectually well-equipped in certain respects, this person might be intellectually lazy, hasty, narrow-minded, or cowardly. Therefore, at least one additional item needs to be added to the list, namely, good intellectual character or the possession of intellectual virtues like curiosity, open-mindedness, intellectual carefulness, and intellectual courage.
According to one familiar way of thinking about humility, it is comprised of a certain attitude or orientation toward one’s limitations. Minimally, a humble person is aware of, rather than oblivious to or in denial about, her limitations. But such awareness is not sufficient for humility, for a person could be aware of but chronically irritated by or defensive about her limitations. As such, she would be less than humble. Accordingly, humility also involves accepting or “owning” one’s limitations.
This note clarifies several details about the description of the measurement process in Bohmian mechanics and responds to a recent preprint by Shan Gao, wrongly claiming a contradiction in the theory.
Although enactive approaches to cognition vary in terms of their character and scope, all endorse several core claims. The first is that cognition is tied to action. Thinking, feeling, and perceiving are the “enactment of a world and a mind on the basis of a history of the variety of actions that a being in the world performs” (Varela et al. 1991, p. 9). The second is that cognition is composed of more than just in-the-head processes. Because cognitive activities are irreducibly embodied and situated, they are made up of processes looping through brain, body, and world — and thus (at least partially) externalized via features of our embodiment and in our ecological dealings with the people and things around us.
If you take the entries Pascal’s triangle mod 2 and draw black for 1 and white for 0, you get a pleasing pattern:
The th row consists of all 1’s. If you look at the triangle consisting of the first rows, and take the limit as you get a fractal called the Sierpinski gasket. …
Soames devotes the first four chapters of the second volume of his new history of analytic philosophy to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. His main topics are (i) the metaphysics of the Tractatus, (ii) the nature of tractarian propositions, (iii) the logic of the Tractatus, and (iv) Wittgenstein’s criterion of intelligibility and its applications. My focus will be on (i) and (ii), in particular on Soames’s interpretation of the substance argument for simple objects and his remarks on the tractarian idea that a proposition is “the propositional sign in its projective relation to the world,” (3.12).
If you ever visit Rome, and wander through the Colosseum or Circus Maximus, it’s hard not to be struck by a sense of fragility and impermanence. Here are the remnants of the most powerful and complex of ancient European societies, now reduced to ruin and rubble. …
Several philosophers have questioned the value of the scientific realism debate. The accusations are varied in content but they have been trickling in at a constant rate. The aim of this chapter is to take part in the debate over whether the scientific realism debate is worth having. I begin with a short introduction of the debate, distinguishing between broad and narrow construals as well as outlining the main positions and arguments. I then canvass three charges that have been launched against it. I argue that although all three, and indeed the whole meta-debate, should be taken seriously, their proponents are rushing in their attempt to seal the object debate’s fate.
This paper explores two experiment designs that seek to determine the extent to which, if at all, observation can be free from theory. The two designs are compared and found to be similar in certain ways. One particular feature critical to both is that they seek to create conditions that compel test subjects with diverse theoretical backgrounds to resort to bare observational skills. If judgments made on the basis of these skills converge, such convergence would provide support for the view that theory-neutral observations can be had. Keywords: theory-ladenness; cognitive penetrability of perception; observation reports; perceptual beliefs.
The name Carl Friedrich Stumpf (1848–1936) is historically
associated with one of the most important philosophical trends in the
early twentieth century, phenomenology. Stumpf supervised
Husserl’s habilitation thesis in Halle in 1887 and the
latter’s seminal work on phenomenology, Logical
Investigations (1900–1901), is dedicated to him in
recognition of his friendship and his philosophical contribution to
this book. Stumpf is also known as the founder of the Berlin Institute
of Psychology, which gave rise to Gestalt psychology, another
important current during the early twentieth century and whose main
adherents were among others, his students W. Köhler, K. Koffka,
W. Wertheimer and K. Lewin.
Part 1 of The Implicit Mind makes the case that “implicit attitudes” are mental states that cause us to act in relatively spontaneous ways, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. I offer an unorthodox description of implicit attitudes, distinguish implicit attitudes from other folk psychological kinds, and show how implicit attitudes help to explain paradigmatic cases of spontaneous action. …
Franz Rosenzweig (1886–1929) ranks as one of the most original Jewish
thinkers of the modern period. As a historian of philosophy,
Rosenzweig played a brief but noteworthy role in the neo-Hegelian
revival on the German intellectual scene of the 1910s. In the years
immediately following the First World War, he sought to bring about
the “total renewal of thinking” through a novel synthesis
of philosophy and theology he named the “new thinking.”
Rosenzweig’s account of revelation as a call from the Absolute other
helped shape the course of early 20th-century Jewish and
Les éthiques animale et environnementale devraient converger vers les trois jugements de valeur suivants: les écosystèmes naturels impliquent généralement plus de bien que de mal, la prédation dans la nature a tendance à produire des avantages nets positifs et, au moins à l’échelle mondiale, l’élevage animal détruit plus de valeur qu’il n’en crée. Mais les critères écocentriques de l’éthique environnementale et les critères de l’éthique animale fondés sur la sentience pourraient avoir des implications divergentes sur l’effet principal du capitalisme sur le monde: l’effondrement de la nature sauvage dû à la croissance explosive de l’économie humaine. Le sentientisme risque de considérer cet effet comme un gain net, alors que l’écocentrisme le considère sûrement comme une perte nette massive. Tout en soutenant les affirmations ci-dessus, je montre comment elles s’intègrent dans un argument plus large en faveur d’une théorie de la valeur écocentrique plus englobante propre à l’éthique environnementale et contre l’axiologie sentientiste plus étroite de l’éthique animale.
Here is a suggestive Thomistic line of thought in favor of the essentiality of origins—i.e., the principle that the causes of things are essential to them. Consider two possible cases where a seed is produced in the same apple tree T:
A seed is produced at t because of the tree’s exercise of seed-producing powers together with God’s cooperative exercise of primary causation. …
Let’s start with a puzzle:
Puzzle. You measure the energy and frequency of some laser light trapped in a mirrored box and use quantum mechanics to compute the expected number of photons in the box. Then someone tells you that you used the wrong value of Planck’s constant in your calculation. …
Vehicle externalism maintains that the vehicles of our mental representations can be located outside of the head, that is, they need not be instantiated by neurons located inside the brain of the cogniser. But some disagree, insisting that ‘non-derived’, or ‘original’, content is the mark of the cognitive and that only biologically instantiated representational vehicles can have non-derived content, while the contents of all extra-neural representational vehicles are derived and thus lie outside the scope of the cognitive. In this paper we develop one aspect of Menary’s vehicle externalist theory of cognitive integration—the process of enculturation—to respond to this longstanding objection. We offer examples of how expert mathematicians introduce new symbols to represent new mathematical possibilities that are not yet understood, and we argue that these new symbols have genuine non-derived content, that is, content that is not dependent on an act of interpretation by a cognitive agent and that does not derive from conventional associations, as many linguistic representations do.
You know the type. Always quick to blame you for your moral complacency. Always righteously indignant at your moral failings. Always keen to highlight their virtue and your vice. I am talking about moralists, of course. …
Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier (a trans man) really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppress trans and nonbinary persons in this way: they marginalize trans men and women, and exclude nonbinary persons. As a result, facts about membership in dominant gender kinds should not settle gender classification practices.
Philodemus of Gadara (ca. 110–ca. 30 BCE) was an Epicurean
philosopher and epigrammatist who, having studied in the Epicurean
school at Athens when it was led by Zeno of Sidon (c. 150–c. 75
BCE), moved to Italy, probably in the 70s BCE. There he may
have lived in the Greek town of Naples, and perhaps also in Rome. Some
of Philodemus’ poems, which were praised by Cicero, were
preserved in the Palatine Anthology, and these were all that
was known of his writing until the discovery in the
mid-18th century of a trove of papyrus manuscripts in the
ruins of a grand villa in Herculaneum, buried by the eruption of
Vesuvius in 79 CE.